‘We just have to beat this thing, that’s why we run’ – emotional stories from Race for Life runners

THERE were fantastic causes everywhere you turned on a packed field of Seaton Carew runners.

From the friends who met through their love of horses to the grandmum and granddaughter who had trained hard for their big day, they were all winners.

PROUD grandmother Gillian Stevenson, right, with granddaughter Tia Donaldson, centre, and friend Tracey Sandbatch

PROUD grandmother Gillian Stevenson, right, with granddaughter Tia Donaldson, centre, and friend Tracey Sandbatch

• DETERMINED Aileen Allison was quite possibly the oldest entrant in this year’s Race for Life at 82.

But age proved no barrier for Aileen who was pushed around the course in a wheelchair by her daughter-in-law Sandra Allison, 54, and granddaughter Rosie Allison, 23.

The three-generations were taking part for the second successive year in memory of Aileen’s husband Derek, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer just over two years ago.

Trainee solicitor Rosie, who travelled home to Hartlepool from King’s Lynn for the race, said: “It has become a family tradition and we do it every year now.”

From left, Sandra, Rosie and Aileen Allison

From left, Sandra, Rosie and Aileen Allison

Joan Sowerby, 62, ran in memory of dad Arthur Whitton, who worked as a butcher on the Headland, and sister Anne Johnson, both of whom she lost to cancer.

Retried factory worker Joan, of Stranton, Hartlepool, said: “The atmosphere has been brilliant.”

Joanne Straughan, 27, of Whealtely Hill, ran for the first time after cancer claimed her mum Mandy, aged just 52, last year.

Joanne said: “She fought like a warrior for five years and never gave up till the end.

“She was a strong, courageous, brave woman and it’s just a shame she was taken so young.

“This is a nice way top raise money for a worthy charity.”

• A group of five ladies from Trimdon Village were running under the name of The Galloping Girls. It was appropriate as they first met when each of them separately rode their horses through the villages of East Durham and began chatting.

For Marilyn Readman, 60, formerly of Seaton Carew, the whole occasional was a tear-jerker. She was running in memory of her husband Tony who died five years ago from lung cancer after an 11 month illnees.

“I have always said I would do something,” said Marilyn, “and now I have. We are all people who met through our love of horses.”

Joining her were Kara Ashurt, 11, Amy Graham, 13. Michelle Graham, and Kathryn Ashurst, all from Trimdon.

• Kirsty Taylor, 18, from Oxford Road in Hartlepool, currently works in the McDonald’s branch in Burn Road and will soon be heading to Teesside University to begin studies. But before she did, she tackled the Seaton Carew run and raised £100.

She said: “I have trained for this and been in the gym but the main thing is to get round and to raise money.”

• PROUD grandmother Gillian Stevenson, 59, from Barmpton Road in Billingham, was delighted to be running with 10-year-old granddaughter Tia Donaldson, who goes to St Paul’s school in Billingham.

Joining them was Tracey Sandbatch, 34, who works with Gillian at Northern Power. Between the three, they hoped to raise around £150.

• JOGGING friends Amanda Slater, 29, from College Gardens in Billingham, and palSamantha Forbes, also 29, from Low Grange in Billingham, ran the event to “support the cause,” they said.

Stay-at-home mum Samantha and water company worker Amanda, hoped to raise £150.

Joanne Straughan

Joanne Straughan

Joan Sowerby

Joan Sowerby